The University of the Fraser Valley men’s basketball program gets an early start on its preseason schedule this coming Monday, as they host an NCAA Division I opponent.
The Cal State Bakersfield Roadrunners take on the Cascades at the Envision Financial Athletic Centre on Aug. 19, with tipoff set for 7 p.m.
Admission is free, giving fans the opportunity to take an early look at the Cascades against a strong stateside opponent.
“It’s great to play a Division I program, obviously, but it’s also fun because of what it represents,” UFV head coach Adam Friesen said.
“The summer’s coming to an end, and the exciting part of the year if you’re a basketball person is coming up.”
The Roadrunners, led by ninth-year head coach Rod Barnes, play in the Western Athletic Conference and posted an 18-16 record last season, followed by a run to the quarter-finals in the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament (CIT).
Key returnees include a quartet of rising juniors: swingmen Justin Edler-Davis and Justin McCall, and forwards Greg Lee and Taze Moore.
Edler-Davis is the team’s top returning scorer, having averaged 8.6 points and 4.3 rebounds per game as a sophomore.
Friesen’s Cascades, coming off a season which saw them post a 13-7 record in conference play and advance to the Canada West quarter-finals, are led by fifth-year seniors Parm Bains and Sukhjot Bains (no relation).
Parm Bains was a CW second team all-star last season after posting a team-best 16.1 points per game, while Sukhjot finished second in team scoring (12.8 ppg) and has spent the bulk of the summer with the Fraser Valley Bandits of the Canadian Elite Basketball League.
Alongside the Cascades’ veteran core, redshirt freshmen Vlad Mihaila, Dhivaan Bhogal and Sukhraj Bains, and stateside transfer Jaskarn Bajwa will all see their first official game action for UFV.
“Everyone that’s in a jersey for us, we’re excited to have on the team, and for those playing their first game it’s exciting to have them start to be part of the family in a different way,” Friesen said.
“The redshirts put in a lot of work last year, and they’re eager to get going.
“And Jazz knows a lot of our guys already, which is nice. Talent-wise, he fills a lot of boxes and we expect him to contribute in a lot of different ways.”
The next scheduled exhibition game for the Cascades after Monday is set for Oct. 18 in Kamloops against the UBC-O Heat. The club then takes on the TRU Wolfpack the next day.
The scheduled exhibition run ends with a games in Victoria against the Vikes on Oct. 25 and 26.
The team opens the season in Winnipeg for games against the Wesmen on Nov. 1 and 2, and then host the home opener on Nov. 15 against the Heat.
The UFV women’s basketball team opens the exhibition season in Calgary starting on Oct. 11.
The women take on the Carleton Ravens, Windsor Lancers and the Dinos at the pre-season event in the Alberta city.
For more on the team, visit gocascades.ca.